Top 10 Trailers: Marvel Studios Phase 1 & 2

Top 10 Trailers: Marvel Studios Phase 1 & 2

There has always been a plan. (Kevin Feige)

With Phase 1 & 2, Marvel has successfully linked 12 (Twelve!) huge films together in one cohesive universe.  Their massive project features larger than life heroes, dangerous villains, a unique brand of humor and truly memorable cinematic moments.

But before the Avengers could assemble, each franchise had to prove itself to fans worldwide.  Marvel is good at many things and among the top of that list, is their marketing department.

Below you’ll find my personal favorite 10 trailers from Phase 1 & 2.  As we gear up for Phase 3 in 2016 and beyond, it’s incredible looking back at the remarkable accomplishments Marvel Studios have achieved thus far.

“There has always been a plan” as studio chief Kevin Feige so eloquently put it.  It’s hard to argue with his vision after nearly a decade of successful films and billions of box office dollars earned.

Bring on Phase 3!

(But first, a glimpse at The Avengers Infinity War Part I & II coming in 2018 & 2019!)

10. Thor

The first trailer on the list is also the first example of Marvel’s ability to introduce new characters in effective ways.  Thor is introduced and connected to the rest of the Marvel universe with the help of Coulson within 30 seconds.

The marketing team then faced the challenge of establishing Asgard and the theme of ‘two worlds’.  The Marvel Cinematic Universe had not left Earth until the moment Oden deemed Thor unworthy and cast him out.

The God of Thunder had arrived.

9. Captain America: The First Avenger

How do you connect a period film featuring a super soldier to the present day Cinematic Universe?  This trailer is packed with clever references including the creation of shield, Tony Stark’s father and more.

The spot is aided immensely by Tommy Lee Jones narration about the importance of good men in times of war.  A theme strengthened as Steve Rogers’ underdog story unfolds.

Providing viewers with only the slightest glimpse of The Red Skull solidified that this was Captain America’s story while simultaneously establishing the formidable foe he must defeat.

8. Iron Man

The one that started it all.  This trailer put character first establishing Tony Stark’s trademark wit and arrogance confidence.  From the very first frame, Robert Downey Jr’s charisma powers this entertaining trailer throughout.

Iron Man was a massive risk for Marvel.  An entire collection of unified franchises rested on the iron shoulder of an unproven hero.  Those fears were put to rest the first time we saw Tony Stark suit up and soar through the sky.  The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been flying high every since.

7. Guardians Of The Galaxy Trailer #2

When the first Guardians trailer premiered people didn’t know exactly what they were in for but they new they liked it.  The second trailer strengthened audiences connection to a new team of cosmic heroes.

At the same time, we were presented with a modern day colorful space opera full of images fans had never seen before.  Marvel laid out all their cards on the table.  Trust our brand and we will deliver.

Fans embraced the new franchise wholeheartedly.  Star Lord, Drax, Gamora, Groot and Rocket Racoon had arrived.  Marvel scored again.

6. Marvel’s The Avengers Trailer #2

Fans were already sold when the first trailer for The Avengers broke the internet.  Then Marvel brought the party to us yet again.  Marvel had already established their historic vision.  Now it was time to bring the action.

This trailer took fans expectations from the stratosphere all the way to Solitude. (A little Thanos reference for you)

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any bigger?  Marvel unleashed space whales!

5. The Avengers: Age Of Ultron

This trailer’s main draw is the haunting rendition of Pinocchio’s ‘I’ve got no strings’.

There was enormous pressure for this trailer to establish greater stakes for Earth’s mightiest heroes.  The result was a trailer with a much darker tone full of chilling images including Captain America’s shattered shield.  By the trailer’s final frame, it was painfully clear that Ultron posed a very real threat to both The Avengers and the world.

This trailer successfully managed to reestablish the characters we’ve come to love while saving enough screen time for new characters we had yet to meet.  A difficult task considering the monumental success of it’s predecessor.

4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

There was little doubt, Captain America: The Winter Soldier would be drastically different than The First Avenger.  Cap is now struggling to assimilate himself in the modern world.  If the time period had to change, so too could the film’s overall theme and tone.

The Winter Soldier was sold as a political thriller featuring superheroes and villains.  A unique take on the genre that was welcomed by fans worldwide.  This trailer skillfully established a world of espionage, betrayal and the danger Captain America was up against.

This is encapsulated fully in the film’s final shot.  When The Winter Soldier caught Steve Rogers’ shield he sent a very clear message to fans of the MCU.  Get ready for one hell of a ride.

3. Iron Man 3

The Avengers changed everything.  How do you return to solo franchises after such a successful team up?  That was the challenge this trailer faced.  The result was an extremely effective introduction to Marvel’s Phase Two vision in which we meet a broken and beaten Tony Stark.  Just when things couldn’t get any worse for our favorite genius, playboy, philanthropist, enter “The Mandarin”.

Mild spoilers aside, you have to take into account that fans still believed Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin was ‘real’ when this trailer premiered.  It’s unfortunate as I believe this trailer establishes it’s villain more effectively than any other in the MCU.

2. Guardians Of The Galaxy

The Marvel Universe has been an unparalleled success since Iron Man graced the screen in 2008.  Since then, Marvel continually introduced new franchises and characters into their carefully constructed web of superhero tales.

Marvel’s might was never bolder than the day they unveiled Guardians of the Galaxy.  How do you introduce an entirely new team of characters with little connection to The Avengers?  You make a trailer like this.

The first Guardians of the Galaxy silenced many critics by relying on the film’s strengths.  Fun characters, fun settings, fun music.

Nerds around the world were singing ‘Hooked on a feeling’ for weeks.  (I know I was.)  No one could have predicted the phenomenal success Guardians was for Marvel.  Except Marvel who placed their bet and backed it up with remarkable storytelling precision.  Well done James Gunn.

1. Marvel’s The Avengers Trailer #1

Nerds already understood.  We understood the moment Nick Fury visited Tony Stark in the original Iron Man.  The Avengers were coming.

But mainstream audiences weren’t fully aware of Marvel’s grand plans until this trailer debuted.  It’s a brilliant piece of marketing that faced a daunting list of ‘must have’ requirements.

I can see the notes on the marketing team’s boardroom table:

  • Must establish heroes from four separate franchises.
  • Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk & Thor must all receive effective screen time.
  • Secondary characters must also be present to deepen the connection to prior films.
  • Must establish the recasting of Mark Ruffalo as the new Hulk in a unique way.
  • Must establish the stakes and more importantly, the villain Loki.
  • Must sell Marvel’s vision of what an epic team up event can be.

I think they did all right in 2 minutes don’t you?


Marvel Phase 2 Recap: The Road To Infinity War

Thanos is ready to strike.  We look back at the highlights of Phase Two and look ahead to the Infinity War!

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